Saturday, August 4, 2007

A chicken in every pot, a casino in every town

All of a sudden, it seems like everyone wants to build a casino in the commonwealth. Middleborough has voted yes (and no) on a proposed Indian casino in their town. Another tribe is looking to build one in Palmer. Mayor Menino is trying to lure casino developers to Suffolk Downs in East Boston. One of the richest men in the world wants to build one off route 495 in Marlborough.

I support the building of one or more casinos, but Governor Patrick is going to have to get this under control when he reveals his position on the proposals in the next few weeks. I fear that without strict control, we're going to end up with a hodge-podge of casinos across the state.

Rather than leaving the development options open, the state should designate a casino "district" (like Atlantic City in New Jersey, for instance) and allow the casinos to all build in that one area. Some cities and towns would probably fight pretty hard for that reward (New Bedford comes to mind, maybe Springfield), yet small towns like Middleborough or Palmer wouldn't be facing the possibility for significant upheaval.

But what we don't need is a string of casinos from Stockbridge to Boston.

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